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Dear Warner Bros....Are You Punishing Us By Withholding Tom and Jerry Volume 2?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Dick, Aug 24, 2014.

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  1. Dick

    Dick Well-Known Member

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    I know that there was controversy surrounding the impending release of this second collection of T&J cartoons some months back, and evidently the set was "postponed" as a result. But are you going to cancel this indefinitely, or are there plans to actually release it as an uncensored set including the two big no-show titles (MOUSE CLEANING and CASANOVA CAT)? C'mon, we're all adults here. Treat us accordingly. Put in disclaimers or whatever. Just give us these cartoons, please! The very few people who will be offended will get over it. Disclaimers prevent lawsuits, so what's the hold up?
     
  2. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Well-Known Member

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    I don't think this is actually how the law works :)

    Anyway, wasn't the issue the fact that there's a senior exec at Warners, a black lady, who has made it her mission not to release these shorts? I'm sure Bigshot can clarify, but if that is the case, then it's simply a waiting game for her to leave.
     
  3. JoHud

    JoHud Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather avoid pointing fingers on who's allegedly responsible for the series getting canned (and it is canned). It really won't help any. All we know is that Warner Bros got cold feet on delivering a fully chronological set mid-way through and a proper Vol 2 won't likely ever happen. I don't think this will get resolved quite that easily.

    Yeah it's dumb, but it has more to do with some marketing/legal folk being paranoid than trolling its customers.
     
  4. Dick

    Dick Well-Known Member

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    No, of course disclaimers don't necessarily prevent lawsuits, but they go a long way toward diffusing certain situations.
     
  5. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Well-Known Member

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    My impression was that this was more of a moral crusade by certain elements at WB rather than anything to do with concern over legal troubles. After all, WB's legal department are surely competent enough to understand that there would be no chance of any legal repercussions if they released this set. They and others have released much worse than this in the past. I believe that these T&J shorts are simply on a "list", for whatever reason, and if a cartoon is on that list it doesn't go out to the public. Simple as that. Don't look for consistency from these idiots, I very much doubt the offending T&J shorts have actually been seen by anyone outside of the home video department (who have no issue with putting them out) for decades.
     
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  6. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Well-Known Member

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    Damn the political correctness! Just fire the lady for obstructing corporate profits for ideological reasons. WWJWD? (What would Jack Warner do?)
     
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  7. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Well-Known Member

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    Jack Warner never had to deal with political correctness. Not that Jack was politically correct himself, mind you, and would have likely railed against this sort of ingrained cultural morbidity towards 'offending' anyone. Let's be fair and clear. I can say something here as innocuous as watching the fizz in a bottle of Coke evaporate and someone would still likely take 'offense' to it. Political correctness has morphed today into a witch hunt against the predominantly 'white' perspective - of which classic Hollywood is primarily a textbook example of the white European influence on pop culture.

    That said, art is a product of its time. Would we ban all classical painting of Rubenesque nudes because today's culture finds fat unattractive and prefers taut, tight little bodies displayed sans clothes or in skimpy bikinis? If I said I was personally offended that the Mona Lisa reminded me of a transexual cousin in drag (just kidding, not really) would someone at the Louvre suddenly write me a polite letter to inform me the painting was being removed from the gallery? I think not!

    That said, we in North America have this bur up our collective butts about former race relations and perspectives presented in the bad ole days when humor was primarily directed at minorities in a fairly unflattering light. Personally, I remember a Bugs Bunny cartoon where he lands on a beach somewhere in the south pacific and escapes capture by the Japanese by posing as the Good Humor Ice Cream man and stuffing popsicles into their gaping mouths, with two buck teeth protruding from each mouth no less, referring to Orientals as 'slant eyes' and 'flat tops'. Politically correct? Hardly. Racially insensitive? You bet. Vital in our understanding of how far our opinion of other ethnic groups has progressed in the years since? ABSOLUTELY!!!

    To pretend like such pieces of the fabric of American entertainment NEVER existed in the first place is frankly insulting to EVERY race. Should whites feel apologetic about such representations. Person opinion, of course, but not unless they were the one's who actually drew the cartoons themselves. Racism is nothing to smirk about with a wink and a nudge. But to simply pretend it never happened, by burying these cultural artifacts and hoping it will all just go away, is tantamount to perpetuating the myth we were always kind, gentle and loving towards everybody. T'ain't necessarily so!
     
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  8. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Well-Known Member

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    The sensitivity is still tied to the continuation of making money on it, while potentially perpetuating stereotypes. Even if your race is not the focus of the stereotyping, it can still be a cringing experience. Not my cup of tea.
     
  9. McCrutchy

    McCrutchy Well-Known Member

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    But that's just it, they wouldn't be "making money" off of racist cartoons, they would be making money off a chronological set of Tom and Jerry cartoons, a few of which happen to include racist elements, The historical significance of the cartoons (including the racist ones, not least because they are racist) far outweighs any objection a rational adult could have to having them available to the public.

    Personally, WB has made me very upset and disappointed by not releasing these cartoons, and to me, they are simply the most disappointing and frustrating video label around at the moment, They have fallen far from even the days where they were making 16x9 DVDs before most people knew what they were. Yes, they release a steady trickle of classics (and Warner Archive is doing a stellar job, much better than the rest of Warner) but they probably also have the largest film library of any of the American studios, and to be frank, some of the people making some of the decisions seem to be either fickle, or downright ignorant.
     
  10. mrz7

    mrz7 Well-Known Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but in order to help ease the "possible backlash" of releasing the racist elements of the cartoon shorts, didn't Warner Brother's have Whoopi Goldberg talk (in an intro) on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDS about this subject? Wasn't this the legal disclaimer for the collection, with Whoopi as the mediator for the possible backlash? Why couldn't Warner Brothers do the same thing for this "Tom & Jerry" Blu-ray? I know it might seem very superficial (it seemed a little that way with the Golden Collection), but if it's something that Warner could do (legally) to get the rest of these shorts released. I personally would love the collection (I have the first set).....I am just asking the question.......I don't know if something like this could be done like with the Golden Collection. I understand both sides of the situation.......but there got to be a way to mediate the situation to make Warner feel safe to release it, fans to get their show, and the people who could be offended know that Warner took the time out to express concern. It just seems that corporations (including the one I work for) can't seem to workout the details and it becomes this long drawn out process of red tape (and no offense.....a lot of BS!!!).
     
  11. JoHud

    JoHud Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much this. They are on a blacklist that happens to include just a handful of T&J and Looney Tunes mostly because some VIPs at WB still have a "cartoons are for kids" mentality. They're not legally banned, just an act of moral posturing.
    The funny thing is, WHV got more backlash over the overly patronizing nature of those disclaimers than the content itself (again, "cartoons are for kids" mentality).

    But even with those disclaimers, I don't think WHV had free reign to include any cartoon they wanted -- I'm sure Jerry Beck tried hard to get Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarves and WB would not allow it (and still doesn't) because it's on some sort of blacklist of randomly selected "controversial" cartoons.
     
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  12. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Well-Known Member

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    I would love to see included on these DVDs a videotaped intro with black history scholars like Henry Louis Gates explaining just why these cartoons are so historically important and music scholars pointing out how musically important they are, in the case of cartoons like "Tin Pan Alleycats" and "Clean Pastures." Or, in cases where the stereotypes are just too blatant to defend, explaining why the cartoons are offensive but also why they should be available for viewing. And this means that cartoons with black characters that weren't offensive should be cited also. I'm thinking of an MGM "Bosko" cartoon in color from 1935--it might have been "Hey-Hey Fever," where Bosko was drawn and portrayed without a hint of stereotype. There were others like that. Or the Betty Boop cartoons that used Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong. There's a wealth of material to draw on. Keeping the cartoons under lock and key doesn't help anybody.

    There are some school English departments where "Huckleberry Finn" is on a "list" and kept from students. And it's one of the most incisive portraits of race relations in mid-19th century America ever written. I once saw a PBS special where black parents protested "Huckleberry Finn" being on a reading list and the school brought in black literary scholars to defend the book. It didn't help the most close-minded parents, but it showed that the school understood its mission.
     
  13. Marc Hampton

    Marc Hampton Member

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    Just how "offensive" are the 2 shorts in question? It must be more than just "Mammy two-shoes"...is it the usual explosion-to-face-causes-black-caricature scene?

    I mean, the Warner Archive is loaded with movies with FAR more racially insensitive material. TCM (part of the Time Warner Empire) shows un-PC movies at all hours of the day. Who will protect the children?!

    If they are afraid of parental backlash from kids being exposed to these shorts, bury the controversial shorts in the Bonus materials so they can be selected only if desired. Or send a "diet" version of the set to Wal Mart and Best Buy, and offer a fully loaded Collectors Edition only through the Archive.
     
  14. Dick

    Dick Well-Known Member

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    How do you come by this information? Are you a studio insider or know someone who is? Just curious.
     
  15. JoHud

    JoHud Well-Known Member

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    Just an observation that evidence suggests. In subsequent sets, WB just used a stock disclaimer card that was used in a handful of other WHV non-cartoon DVDs (i.e. a Cab Callaway bonus short)
    Pretty much, one brief blackface gag each. The same sort of content seen in many other LT & T&J cartoons allowed on DVD, along with many of the Disney Treasures. We're not talking C11 here. There's no consistency in what cartoons WB blacklists in terms of similarly insensitive content.
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    How many children are actually watching TCM or these sets?
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    People can make a lot of assumptions about those numbers, but I'm afraid none of us here are in position to quantify those numbers, particularly, the latter.
     
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  18. bigshot

    bigshot Well-Known Member

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    Considering they aren't marketing them to children, I think it's likely children aren't the intended audience. If they marketed classic cartoons to children, they would sell a lot more.
     
  19. JoHud

    JoHud Well-Known Member

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    The old T&J Spotlight Collections were more marketed towards kids, or at least younger audiences if some of the special features are an indication (MadTV commentaries, anyone?), which is probably why there wasn't much of a fuss of the same 2 cartoons being omitted on those DVDs.

    These Golden Collections of T&J were suppose to be the ones for the adults/collectors and there were early indications that it would be blu-ray only to help gatekeep the "electronic babysitter" consumers. Of course they caved early on to the latter aspect and caved further on the former in a futile effort to forgo the original intent of providing a complete chronological set for some vaguely political marketing reason, thus ensuring a FUBAR'd product line.
     
  20. ThadK

    ThadK Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, sir. This is exactly what's going on verbatim. No legal worries, just legal stupidity. The two "offending" cartoons are on some ancient verboten list, and they won't put them out. Ironically, both MOUSE CLEANING and CASANOVA CAT were available on video cassette in the '90s, with no warning whatsoever and very clearly marketed to children (CASANOVA headlining the one collection; even HIS MOUSE FRIDAY was depicted on one cover).

    The politics within the Warner hierarchy are mind-boggling WRT the cartoons. 2008 was Tex Avery's centennial and should've heralded a major release. Missed the boat on that one, I guess.
     
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